Let me start by saying, I think we’re all just doing our darndest to survive 2020 right now! This year has certainly not been a cake walk…and on top of everything going on, you’ve got your loved one set to deploy soon. Military spouses are some of the most resilient and adaptable people I have ever met. We may not always feel strong, in fact, there are times we feel the exact opposite. While it may seem like you’re in this alone, don’t forget you have a community of other submarine spouses who are going through some similar struggles adjusting to deployment too! The most important thing I can suggest is to take things one day at a time as you start to transition into a new routine. Try not to get caught up in the number of weeks/months you have ahead of you because that can be overwhelming. You will get through this!
Here are some tips that helped me weather my first deployment as a submarine spouse:
Familiarize Yourself With Your Ombudsman & FRG (Family Readiness Group)
These resources (particularly your ombudsman) will be your lifeline of communication when it comes to getting updates from the boat, ie: schedule changes, port call updates, etc. Your ombudsman is also an excellent resource for other important information you may seek. For example, contact information for counselors and family therapists that you have access to as a military spouse. Your FRG is a great way to meet other spouses attached to your boat. Depending on how active your FRG is, there will often be social events or fundraisers to take part in. Examples may include a half-way night celebration and a final-fling in preparation for the boat’s homecoming!
Embrace Your Hobbies or Explore New Ones
Take this time to focus on activities that make you happy! Join a book club, plant that vegetable garden you’ve been planning out on your Pinterest board, start a blog, create a family cook-book as you try out new recipes! During my first deployment I rediscovered my love for yoga and even pushed myself to join a HIIT class three mornings a week. This helped me reset each morning and feel energized.
Develop a Routine
With your spouse undersea for an extended period, now is the time to transition into a new routine. Having a steady routine can make it easier to take the deployment one day at a time. This doesn’t mean abandoning spontaneity though! Taking the kids on a fun day trip to go exploring is a great way to connect and get out of the house for a bit.
Keep In Touch With Family & Friends
Deployments are a great time to come together with friends and family. Have your buddies who live far away come out for a visit, have grandma and grandma surprise the kids! It’s sometimes easier said than done to plan a trip (especially in this age of COVID), so just planning some good ‘ol video chat time can go a long way! Having someone to talk to and share how your day went is key, so make sure to reach out to family and friends when you just need someone to listen.
Keep A Journal or Running List of Things to Tell Your Spouse
If you’re anything like me, I constantly found myself thinking “man, I wish my husband was around to see this, this would make him laugh!” So I started taking pictures and making a list of things so I wouldn’t forget. It was also a great way to share with him what I was up to while he was away.
Before I wrap this up, I want to share the emotional cycle of deployment:
The cycle of emotions that you go through during a deployment is real and while it would be nice for these to all occur in a nice sequential order, sometimes you’ll find yourself ping-ponging around…and that is OK! You’ll have your bad days, but I promise you’ll have some awesome days as well! You’ve got this! For more resources on deployment, click here.